Tree Notes is about trees -- especially native trees, trees for wildlife, and trees in history.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Trees with fine foliage

Trees with small leaves or leaflets


Hawthorn leaves and berriesWhy choose a tree with fine foliage rather than coarse foliage? One reason is to create an optical illusion. You can make a small yard appear longer by using plants and shrubs with large leaves in the foreground and trees with small leaves in the background.

Trees with fine foliage don't make as much of a mess when the leaves drop in autumn. The leaves break down faster and blow away easier. Thus, less raking is required. A few passes with the lawn mower may eliminate the need to rake at all.

Most trees with finer foliage don't create dense shade. Grass and many plants, flowers, and shrubs do better in dappled shade than in dense shade.

I've listed a few native trees below that have small or fine foliage. There are others, but I've limited the list to some that come through most ice/wind events without severe damage.

Of course, there are other factors to consider as well, such as the type of soil and the amount of moisture that will be available to the tree. Links will open an information page about the species at the USDA Plants database.

Amelanchier canadensis -- Canadian serviceberry
Carpinus caroliniana -- American hornbeam
Crataegus -- Hawthorn species
Gymnocladus dioicus -- Kentucky coffeetree
Malus ioensis -- Prairie crabapple
Ptelea trifoliata -- Common hoptree
Quercus palustris -- Pin oak
Viburnum prunifolium -- Blackhaw viburnum
Viburnum rufidulum -- Rusty blackhaw viburnum

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2 comments -- please add yours:

heirloomgardener said...

I love your tree recommendations. Crabapple is my favorite for foliage, flowers and in late winter, forced brances. Here is a picture of my recently forced branches:

http://heirloomgardener.blogspot.com/2008/02/forced-branches-quince-crabapple-willow.html

eastcoastdweller said...

I've always wondered why evolution leads to some trees with fine leaves, others with large ones.

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Enrich your life with the study of trees.

"The power to recognize trees at a glance without examining their leaves or flowers or fruit as they are seen, for example, from the car-window during a railroad journey, can only be acquired by studying them as they grow under all possible conditions over wide areas of territory. Such an attainment may not have much practical value, but once acquired it gives to the possessor a good deal of pleasure which is denied to less fortunate travelers."

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Print references I frequently consult

Benvie, Sam. Encyclopedia of North American Trees. Buffalo, NY: Firefly, 2000.

Brockman, C. Frank. Trees of North America: A Guide to Field Identification. Ed. Herbert S. Zim. New York: Golden, 1986.

Cliburn, Jerry, and Ginny Clomps. A Key to Missouri Trees in Winter: An Identification Guide. Conservation Commission of the State of Missouri, 1980.

Collingwood, G. H., Warren David Brush, and Devereux Butcher. Knowing Your Trees. Washington: American Forestry Association, 1978.

Dirr, Michael. Dirr's Hardy Trees and Shrubs: an Illustrated Encyclopedia. Portland, Or.: Timber, 1997.

Elias, Thomas S. The Complete Trees of North America; Field Guide and Natural History. New York: Book Division, Times Mirror Magazines, 1980.

Grimm, William Carey. The Book of Trees;. Harrisburg, PA: Stackpole, 1962.

Hightshoe, Gary L. Native Trees, Shrubs, and Vines for Urban and Rural America: a Planting Design Manual for Environmental Designers. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1988.

Little, Elbert L. National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Trees. New York: Chanticleer, 1996.

Martin, Alexander C., Herbert S. Zim, and Arnold L. Nelson. American Wildlife and Plants. New York: McGraw Hill, 1951.

Mitchell, Alan F., and David More. The Trees of North America. New York, NY: Facts On File Publications, 1987.

Randall, Charles E. Enjoying Our Trees. Washington: American Forestry Association, 1969.

Settergren, Carl D., and R. E. McDermott. Trees of Missouri. Columbia: University Extension, 1995.

Sternberg, Guy, and James W. Wilson. Native Trees for North American Landscapes: from the Atlantic to the Rockies. Portland: Timber, 2004.

Wharton, Mary E., and Roger W. Barbour. Trees and Shrubs of Kentucky. Lexington: University of Kentucky, 1973.

Wyman, Donald. Trees for American Gardens. New York: Macmillan, 1965.

Photos and text copyright © 2006-2010 by Genevieve L. Netz. All rights reserved. Do not republish without written permission. My e-mail address is gnetz51@gmail.com